LAGOS, April 15 (Reuters) - Nigeria's electoral commission on Friday had placed voter registration in several areas of the Imo state, which is oil-producing after an election official was shot dead by unknown gunmen, as the country prepares for a series of votes early next year.
Armed groups have burned down electoral offices and police stations in parts of the southeast, which the government has blamed on the banned separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). IPOB has denied the charges.
According to a statement, voting registration had been suspended in 54 centres and three local government areas in Imo state, according to a Nigerian Electoral Commission spokesperson.
Voter registration is being held on the streets of Nigeria ahead of the election scheduled for next year, where candidates will choose a new parliament and president in February, with Muhammadu Buhari resigning after serving two consecutive four-year terms permitted by the Constitution - and state governors in March.
In the northwest, the country is confronted with growing insecurity, including gun attacks and kidnappings, a wider Islamist insurgency in the northeast, and attacks on government institutions by armed forces in the southeast.
Separatist organizations like IPOB are pushing for southeastern Nigeria, the country's homeland of the Igbo ethnic group, to be an independent country. In 1967, the region attempted to secede under the name Republic of Biafra, triggering a three-year civil war in which more than a million people died, mostly of hunger.